Y. Hua, Y. Linga, F. Zhaoa, H. Zhonga, T. Xua, Y. Baib and Z. Zhanga
Journal of Materials Processing Technology 306, 117640 (2022)
FeCrAl alloys have been widely developed as an alternative accident-tolerant cladding material in light water reactors since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. A large thermal neutron cross-section is the most severe challenge for FeCrAl alloys in the final commercial use, and a thinner cladding was necessary to overcome this, which led to higher corrosion resistance requirements. To address this issue, a surface treatment process is described here to enhance the corrosion resistance of the FeCrAl alloy via a water-assisted laser modification. By varying the laser power and laser scanning speed, the relationship between corrosion and processing parameters was investigated to better understand the mechanism with various characterizations. A heat-transfer model with boiling heat transfer boundary conditions was built and simulated using a finite element method to reveal the change in temperature field during processing. A corrosion test was performed with a simulated light water reactor (LWR) hydro-thermal environment for 120 h. The corrosion rate and oxide film thickness of the water-assisted laser modified FeCrAl alloy sample decreased by 83 % and 50 %, respectively, compared to the as-received one, and this was ascribed to the formation of protective oxide film during laser processing, along with grain refinement and elimination of holes and scratches.